JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Military suicides have risen as much as 20 percent this year, according to a recent report.
The COVID-19 pandemic, the report found, has taken a toll on both active members and veterans.
Fortunately for those in Northeast Arkansas, the Beck Center for Veterans on the Arkansas State University campus offers help and hope with free counseling and programs.
Veterans we spoke with say the center changed their lives for the better.
“The biggest part for me was, it gives me a place to go outside my house, so I’m not locked up all the dang time,” said Patrick Goza, a Navy veteran. “If you do that, you stay stagnant, and that’s when depression sets in, and anxiety tops that. The next thing you know, you’re way off in left field where you shouldn’t be.”
The center evaluates each individual’s situation. Then determines the best treatment options, including whether they need in-patient or out-patient help.
In addition to one-on-one counseling, the center offers group counseling sessions and free classes.
Goza and National Guard veteran Nathan Greer say the center makes them feel at home. They also feel as though someone is really listening to them.
“There would be times when I had trouble with work, homework, or I was just feeling down, and the Beck Pride Center was always a place that I could come,” said Greer. “Mrs. Lynda would always talk to me, as a veteran, as a student.”
To those who have a “gut feeling” that a veteran is struggling, Director Lynda Nash says to just ask the vet how they are doing.
It may be a difficult conversation, she says, but issues can emerge months or even years after a veteran returns home.
The next step: Seek help.
For more information on the services provided by the Beck Center for Veterans, call 870-972-2624 or click here.
Among the classes and programs it offers:
- Military Order of the Purple Hearts-meetings pending.
- Combat Veteran Support Group-Thursdays at noon. Meet over the phone.
- Disabled American Veterans-meetings pending.
- PTSD Therapy and Support Group-Tuesdays at 1:20 pm via zoom.
- Anger Management Group-Mondays at 7 p.m. and Tuesdays at 2 p.m.
- “Music is a Healer”/Guitar Class-Thursdays at 6 p.m. Classes begin Oct. 1.
- Stress Management Group-Thursdays at 10 a.m. Classes begin Oct. 1.
- Time Management Group-Fridays at 1 p.m. Meetings begin Oct. 2.
- Student Veteran Organization-Second Monday of every month at 2 pm.
- Service Dog Class-Tuesdays at 6:30 pm. Classes begin Oct. 6.
For immediate help, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Veterans press 1.
Individuals can also go to: https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org/talk-to-someone-now and veterans can go to woundedwarriorproject.org or call the project’s resource center at 888-997-2586.